Tim Bradley retires Brandon Rios, Lomachenko dominates Koasicha

November 8, 2015

Las Vegas, Nevada -- In a crossroads bout between two top welterweight contenders, a revitalized Tim Bradley and his new trainer, Teddy Atlas, put themselves in line for a potential big future payday, while a lethargic Brandon Rios announced his retirement from the sport after Bradley stopped Rios in the ninth round with a series of body shots Saturday night at UNLV's Thomas and Mack Center.

“I had a wonderful camp," said Bradley, crediting his change in trainers with the win.  "New head trainer, new engine, new captain, Mr. Teddy Atlas. It was a strict camp. Honestly, this was probably my best camp that I’ve ever had. I was comfortable, I was happy all the time. I worked extremely hard, Teddy tested me mentally, physically, emotionally every single day. It was a work of art, man. The main reason why me and Teddy work out is, honestly, because he cares. He truly cares man.”

The opening round saw the new-look Bradley come out with several sharp jabs in succession that snapped Rios’ head back. Even more impressive, Bradley came out with five straight left hooks that brought another grin to the face of Rios. Bradley finished the round strong with good work to the body and then some hard shots in the last 10 seconds of the round. The first frame was definitely one that went in the bank in Bradley’s favor.

The second round began with Bradley doubling and tripling up on the jab before circling back out of harm’s way. Rios seemed to establish better range and rhythm midway through the round, but then the two got tangled up as Rios attempted to maul Bradley on the inside. He succeeded and caught Bradley with a huge right hand that could not have pleased Teddy Atlas. Moments later, Rios caught Bradley again with a big overhand right, but Desert Storm responded with a nice four-punch combination.

This round was closer, but Bradley was probably able to edge it with his higher activity and accuracy.

The third round was more of the same: Bradley boxing and Rios trying to bring the action inside.

Rios began landing more clubbing right hands when he was in close, but Bradley also did his share, pounding away while in the clinch.  The two combatants continued to trade shots as Bradley circled and moved, and Rios followed. Bradley landed a nice counter right hand with 10 seconds to go that helped earn him the third round as well.

Meanwhile, Rios was struggling to keep up, as he was not letting his hands go enough and was failing to get inside and land his trademark uppercuts.

Rios, the noticeably bigger man who inflated from 147 pounds at the weigh-in to 170 pounds on fight night, seemed to try and push the action a bit more in Round Four. But, by doing so, he also left himself open for some big step-around counter right hands. One of those Bradley shots landed square on Rios' jaw with under 30 seconds to go in the round.

Bradley put a final exclamation on yet another round with a couple of hard jabs seconds before the bell. For the first time, Rios looked slightly discouraged while walking back to his corner in between rounds.

Bradley continued to control the distance to his advantage, circling when he wanted some space to box, stepping around his man to open up better angles to dig in hooks and wide shots, and then smothering and holding Rios on the inside to quell the action when he wanted.

Bradley tagged Rios cleanly with the last two shots in a three-blow volley, and this time it was notable that Rios reacted with a very deep breath, instead of the customary smirk that he shown throughout his career.

As the bout progressed, Bradley continued to circle just out of range, then step in and pepper Rios with shots. Rios, 29, looked strangely gun shy and unable to pull the trigger, as he failed to counter Bradley or beat him to the punch.

Frustration seemed to be setting in on Rios’ side, as the former lightweight lynchpin continued to sluggishly follow Bradley, unable to effectively cut off the ring.  Bradley continued his great work, alternately working upstairs and then down to Rios’ body with nice combinations.

By Round Seven, most in attendance began to wonder if the patented Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios indomitable will and fighting spirit would ever emerge during the evening.

Bradley was really in a good rhythm at this juncture, as he was able to control the fight and keep it at a pace that was to his favor. Bradley lulled Rios to sleep then flurried on him to close the round, as Rios simply had no answer and was backed up against the ropes.

In the decisive ninth round, Bradley was clearly trying to step around Rios and lead him into a right hand or left hook that he could turn over at precisely the right moment. A chant of “Let’s go Rios” prompted a Bradley overhand right, and then some good work in response by Rios as they each worked on the inside.

Bradley then backed Rios off with a left hook to the body before dropping him with several more shots thrown in quick succession. Rios beat the count, but the end was inevitable as Bradley swarmed and dropped him yet again. At this point veteran referee Tony Weeks had seen enough, and correctly halted the action at 2:49 of the ninth round, making Bradley the winner by TKO.

The win was just Bradley's thirteenth stoppage in his 11-year, 35-fight pro career. For Rios, the loss by knockout was even more rare as this bout marked the first time that the slugger had tasted the canvas, or suffered a stoppage defeat.

“I had a wonderful career, I think it’s time for me to hang up the gloves," said Rios.  "I’m not giving it my all, I don’t kill myself just to come up here and get beat up and take beatings for no reason. I made great money in boxing, and I have been smart with my money and earnings. I just wanna say, that I love this sport so much, it’s hard for me to turn my back away from it, but when it’s time to hang it up it’s time to hang it up. I’m glad that I figured it out now.”

As for Bradley, he could not help but look toward the future, optimistic that his new trainer could continue to improve his game.

“I’ve never had a training camp this extensive, and this detailed in my whole career, ever,” said Bradley.  “He implemented so much in this training camp, from taping my sparring, reviewing my sparring to no music in the gym, no cell phones in the gym.  It was just focus every single day. Every single day, was just complete focus. And that’s the reason why I was able to pick it up and learn.  But, I’m not perfect, it’s only been seven weeks, and Teddy already told me that he’s coming back for another training camp, so I’m excited about that.”

Lomachenko dominates Koasicha in undercard bout

Most media outlets rank Vasyl Lomachenko among the sport's pound-for-pound elites, and his impressive performance Saturday night did nothing to change those opinions, as Lomachenko outclassed and stopped a gutsy Romulo Koasicha in the tenth round of their bout at the Thomas and Mack Center.

Both Lomachenko and Koasicha came out looking to control the center of the ring in the first round, but Lomachenko was able to string together some nice combinations that immediately showed which fighter had the higher skill level.

Lomachenko opened up more in the third, backing Koasicha into a corner with a pinpoint four-punch combination before making Koasicha miss a pair of wide shots, and then retaliating to rock the Mexican fighter with a couple of quick uppercut-hook combinations.

Lomachenko punctuated the round with a series of slick defensive maneuvers, as he did a nice Pernell Whitaker/Willie Pep imitation for much of the frame.

Lomachenko also showed more of the same efficient offense and pinpoint accuracy. An uppercut straight to the sternum stunned Koasicha’s perpetual forward movement momentarily, and the underdog appeared for the first time to be notable gassed from missing so frequently and then absorbing Lomachenko's clean shots.

The fifth round saw Lomachenko continue to dazzle with his fleet footwork, as he countered and turned Koasicha effectively time and again.

Lomachenko began feinting more and looking to press Koasicha in the sixth. He also began to clown around a bit more too, even pawing and handling Koasicha’s head in one instance that surely would have had the Clippers' Chris Paul seething. Koasicha did land a counter, step-back right hand while backed into his own corner that seemed to have caught Lomachenko’s attention, as he immediately responded with a nice flurry.

Lomachenko continued to dominate in the eighth round, landing some ferocious counter uppercuts and straights to the solar plexus that had many,  including this writer, wondering how Koasicha was able to absorb such shots and still stay upright.

Lomachenko punctuated the chasm between the two pugilists when he apologized in a gesture of sportsmanship for striking Koasicha in the back of the head in one moment, and then, in less than an instant’s breath, absolutely rocked Koasicha with a short right jab that jolted his head back violently.

Such was Lomachenko’s dominance that some in the audience began to verbally lament that the Ukrainian phenomenon hadn’t yet disposed of the Mexican challenger, considering that he could touch, turn, and torment his opponent virtually any time he wanted.

But for anyone questioning his power, Lomachenko's work to the body would finally provide an answer, as he unleashed a series of extremely hard shots from each side that put an end to the proceedings as Koasicha finally chose to surrender, taking a knee while referee Robert Byrd counted to ten. The end officially came at 2:35 of the 10th round.

Lomachenko spoke briefly through an interpreter after the fight, saying that he welcomes any and all featherweight champions hoping to unify the 125-pound belts.

By Kweku Turkson
Staff Reporter for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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